Bethune-Cookman catcher Shamir Morales calls out instructions during a game against Florida Gulf Coast on March 1. The school announced Tuesday it will not play sports in the 2020-21 school year. Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Bethune-Cookman will not be participating in intercollegiate sports this coming winter or spring, announcing Tuesday that it has canceled all athletic events for the remainder of the academic year because of ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA said Bethune-Cookman was the first Division I institution to publicly announce that it was not going to compete in any sport for the entire academic year. University President E. LaBrent Chrite said the decision was made “in the face of a surging COVID-19 spike” both in the state of Florida and across the country.

“We have concluded that the risks are too great for our student-athletes and staff to travel and compete at this time,” Chrite said.

Bethune-Cookman, located in Daytona Beach, Florida, has 15 varsity programs, and the fall 2020 seasons were canceled back in July. Chrite said the latest decision was made “after a series of meetings with stakeholders across the campus” along with Athletic Director Lynn Thompson, coaches, health experts and state officials.

“We obviously recognize that other institutions may elect to move forward with spring competition,” Chrite said. “The decision for us, however, was not a complicated one. The risk premium is simply too high and our priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. As members of the B-CU family constantly engage in various forms of civic engagement, this decision also protects our community partners as well.”

The university is also shutting down all in-person classes on Wednesday and encouraging students who are living on campus to leave now instead of the planned end-of-semester closure on Nov. 20.

FOOTBALL

PENN STATE: Running back Noah Cain will miss the rest of the season with an injury, another blow to the 18th-ranked Nittany Lions’ backfield as they prepare to face No. 3 Ohio State.

Penn State Coach James Franklin declined to give specifics of Cain’s injury, but the sophomore left Saturday’s overtime loss to Indiana early and reportedly was seen on the sideline later with a walking boot on his left foot. The loss of Cain, who ran for 443 yards and eight touchdowns last year, comes about a week after Penn State announced its leading rusher from last season, Journey Brown, could miss this entire season with an unspecified medical condition.

CLEMSON: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence stopped short of calling an audible on his plans to head to the NFL next year, though the likely No. 1 pick in next year’s draft did not rule out returning to school.

“My mindset has been that I’m going to move on,” said the 6-foot-6 QB with the flowing hair. “But who knows? There’s a lot of things that could happen.”

Lawrence had laid publicly laid out his plans last month: play this college season, graduate in December with his bachelor’s degree in marketing and get ready for the NFL. That’s led to reports about which NFL teams might win the Lawrence sweepstakes – and the frontrunner right now is the offensively challenged New York Jets. At 0-7 , the Jets are the NFL’s only winless team.

Former NFL receiver Roddy White created a social media stir last week when he suggested that if the Jets held the top pick and he were Lawrence, “I’d just go back” to school.

• Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney said one of the defense’s leading players in linebacker James Skalski will miss several games with a knee injury.

Swinney said Tuesday that Skalski will have arthroscopic surgery on his knee. The coach is unsure how long Skalski would be out.

FLORIDA: Florida’s football program is reporting six new positive tests for the coronavirus in the past week, bringing the team’s total for the month to 37.

The 10th-ranked Gators returned to practice and meetings starting Monday following a two-week hiatus because of a coronavirus outbreak.

Coach Dan Mullen, at least two assistants and more than two dozen players tested positive following a road trip to Texas A&M earlier this month. Everyone on the plane – about 75 people in all – was quarantined because of test results the following day, potential exposure and contact tracing protocols.

The outbreak forced the Gators to shut down team activities and work remotely. The Southeastern Conference rescheduled two games because Florida would not have had at least 53 scholarship players available to play.

The Gators (2-1) are scheduled to host Missouri (2-2) on Saturday, and Mullen says they expect to have enough to play.


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